Studio Swine creates fine art from ocean plastic waste
by Zoe Dickens
Innovative design team Studio Swine have shone new light on one of the greatest threats facing the world's oceans by creating fine art objects using plastic fished from the sea.
Named Gyrecraft, after the circular gyre currents that cause the plastic to collect in ‘islands’ and the dual meaning of craft as both artistic skill and a sailing vessel, the collection of luxury objects aims to make the viewer reassess the notions of value we place on everyday objects.
To collect the plastic Studio Swine founders Alexander Groves and Azusa Murakami travelled more than 1,000 nautical miles across the North Atlantic, collecting materials as they journeyed from Azores to the Canaries and on to the North Atlantic Gyre.
The nature of the swirling currents means plastic is broken down into tiny fragments which can be extremely hard to recover from the sea in any great quantity. Thus, for the purposes of this project, the plastic became as prized as perhaps coral or a turtle shell may be under normal circumstances.
Once collected the plastic was transformed into five sculptures representing the world’s five main ocean gyres using a Solar Extruder. The extruder uses the sun’s light and heat to melt the plastic and was designed and built by Studio Swine specifically for the Gyrecraft project. This sustainable and innovative method of working adds value, beauty and desirability to the plastic while preventing any contribution to the pollution problem.
The Gyrecraft collection is currently on display in the Ultra Lounge at Selfridge’s as part of their Project Ocean scheme. This campaign has seen Selfridge’s ban plastic drinking bottles from its stores in an effort to educate and eradicate the ocean’s plastic waste crisis. The Gyrecraft sculptures will be available for purchase through London Connoisseur when the exhibition finishes at the end of August.